Re: [unrev-II] DKR for Open Source: Viability

From: Eric Armstrong (
Date: Mon Feb 07 2000 - 17:40:14 PST

From: Eric Armstrong <>

David Robinson wrote:
> This brings up the question:
> How do we want to store the information?
I'm going to suggest that we avoid database storage.
HTML took off, in part, because it was a plain text
markup language instead of binary. That made it possible
to see how it worked, as well it making it easier to

XML encoding will make things easier to debug, at a
minimum -- although I doubt that it will be possible
to gain a lot from looking at, it is still possible to
convert data to a new version by writing simple text
filters -- for example, to change an attribute name.

For a small number of files, you could do that with the
search and replace function in your text editor, rather
than requiring some special function.

Then, too, documents on your system can be searched and
indexed by a variety of utilities if they are in plain
text. That makes it easier for others to add utilities
to the system.

For all these reasons, then, I'm a proponent of plain
text storage.

Editing, of course, requires an XML editor. That is the
crux of Adam's proposal -- view in HTML with an everyday
browser, edit in XML using a simple editor, at least for
starters. We've been working on the editor-problem in the
eXtenDE project at (No web page yet, due
to firewall inconsistencies).

There is one open source editor we've thought about using
as a basis, but which none of us as been able to unzip,
probably due to international characters in the zip file
headers. Maybe someone on this list can? It's at

> I believe we have to write our own Interface that perfectly
> suits what we want to do. When I'm creating references to
> other documents I want to just drag that document in or enter
> its ID tag or category tag so others can easily go off and find
> out why I came to that conclusion. I don't want to type out
> 10 URLs which in 6 months time my not exist.
Those are legitimate requirements for the system. It will
certainly be darn hard to use without such facilities. If 0.1 is
our "core" functionality (say, send and receive a message) and
0.2 is our "repository" version (save and forward messages), and
0.3 is our "interaction" version (reply to messages), then
somewhere around .5 -- .7 we should probably add point and drag

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